Biden’s Permitting Wishlist Completely Omits American Oil And Gas

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The White House on Wednesday outlined a set of permitting reform objectives designed to support the Biden administration’s goal of a “clean energy future,” which made no reference to incentivizing the production of American oil or gas.

The president’s outline calls for “responsible” mining of critical minerals, a faster permitting process for renewable energy projects on federal lands and additional grid capacity, all in service of deploying “new clean energy generation.” While the White House noted the administration’s support for Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s recently reintroduced permitting reform bill — the Building American Energy Security Act of 2023 — the White House made no show of support for the components of the bill that streamlined permitting for natural gas pipelines and other fossil fuel projects. (RELATED: ‘Political Malpractice’: Joe Manchin Tears Into Biden Over Climate Spending In Fiery Op-Ed)

“The President doesn’t love everything in the bill, but we support it,” said White House Senior Clean Energy Advisor John Podesta in prepared remarks introducing the outline Wednesday. “That’s what compromise means, and it will take compromise by everybody to get this done. The Biden-Harris administration has worked hard to better understand these roadblocks, and now we’re asking Congress to build on Senator Manchin’s legislation with additional reforms.”

The White House stressed that while it was “proud” of its accomplishments on clean energy — citing President Joe Biden’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), as an example of the administration’s efforts — it needed to “up the pace” to hit Biden’s goal of 100% emissions-free power generation by 2035. The Biden administration has faced pressure from both Democratic lawmakers and climate activists to crack down on fossil fuels following the president’s approval of a major Alaskan oil drilling project, known as Willow, in March.

In March, the president issued a proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024 that would end all subsidies to oil and gas companies in the U.S., which the White House estimated would save $31 billion annually. The White House estimated Wednesday that the Biden-Harris administration had overseen $470 billion in manufacturing and clean energy, with $220 billion in private sector investment, since the president took office in 2021.

Manchin has sparred with the administration recently over the implementation of the IRA, alleging the Biden administration is undercutting Congress’ goal of boosting U.S. manufacturing by allowing certain allies to qualify for tax breaks meant for American manufacturers. In an April Senate hearing, Manchin got into a heated exchange with Biden’s Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, over her agency’s support of the administration’s interpretation of the IRA, frustratedly calling for her office to “[f]ollow the law!”

The West Virginian’s previous effort to pass permitting reform was sunk by bipartisan opposition despite support from the White House, with Democrats souring on the bill’s pro-fossil measures and Republicans expressing frustration with Manchin’s support for the IRA. However, the White House recently expressed a willingness to pressure Democrats to support the bill, and the House GOP passed many of Manchin’s proposals in the Lower Energy Act of 2023 in March.

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